Our town is a very nice town
THE online community newspaper for Nailsea people, their family and their friends
January homes for sale by Property Peeps page sponsors Hunters Estate Agents and Letting Agents in the High Street HERE. Plus news that district council has decided to go it alone with a Local Plan is also on this page
We have a new sponsor for our Property Peeps page. It is HENSONS estate agents. With more than 80 networked offices in the south west and London the Nailsea office is at Ivy Court, 61 High Street. Read more HERE about planning applications approved and in the pipeline as Nailsea moves towards welcoming hundreds of new home owners at Engine Lane, Netherton Grange + possibly The Uplands
For pubs and eating out reopening dates go to this page with all the community events for year ahead and sadly news of some cancellations. But the bike show and Rotary charity walks/runs are on and included are diary listings click HERE
'We love Nailsea' theme dominated the April slideshows along with Backwell lake. For May which is named after the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants it is spring flowers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your pics. Click HERE to view photos
DUCKS IN A ROW: Time to explore Backwell lake now with fantastic access-for-all footpaths, new seating and a viewing platform thanks to Wessex Water. Be mindful of the nesting swans and these cute balls of fluff which are the newly hatched Canadian goslings. For many more lake ground photos go to our Gallery 2021. Thanks to Tracey Thomas for these brilliant images
Nailsea Town Council AGM
The new chairman of Nailsea Town Council is Mike Bird who is also the Independent North Somerset ward councillor for Nailsea Yeo which is mostly the area to the north of the town but includes the High Street.
The vice-chairman is Emily Miller who was co-opted onto the town council seven months ago and has the vision of an arts centre and improved facilities for Nailsea.
Both were elected unopposed.
The annual town meeting was cancelled due to the death of the Duke of Edinburgh and has not yet been rearranged although we are told it will be sometime later in May.
This is not to be confused with Nailsea Town Council annual meeting - an AGM of sorts - when a new chairman and vice-chairman were elected.
This Zoom meeting on Wednesday evening also made other important decisions like who was going to judge the next best allotment competition - it will be councillors Dee Holbrook and Joanne Hopkinson - and that with the goal posts changing its vision for Nailsea in planning terms needs a rethink.
Read more on the Political Peeps page HERE.
CALL ME: From top the 1960s High Street photo with telephone box, two photos taken in High Street and three photos also recent of Tithe Barn red telephone box
We bought red telephone box
Nailsea Town Council has bought the red telephone box in the High Street for £1.
But is has been unsuccessful so far trying to buy another red telephone box sited in Church Lane which could have a market value of many thousands of pounds!
While the wheels of big business and local councils often move very slowly in some ways this isn't a bad thing, but it was more than two years ago when the town council set in motion the purchase of the High Street red telephone box from British Telecom.
However, Nailsea People is pleased to report the sale was finally completed late in April 2021 as part of the Adopt A Kiosk scheme under which thousands of red phone boxes were offered by BT for just £1 each.
But the sale of the Tithe Barn telephone box was never completed.
We are told ‘apparently the town council applied for ownership a few years back but pulled out’.
Not so, says chairman Jan Barber as she distinctly remembers signing two separate £1 cheques to BT?
It was only later it made a formal bid for the High Street kiosk which is also disconnected sometime in 2019.
With the advent of mobiles the iconic red telephone boxes countrywide were threatened with disconnection as no-one is using it to make calls.
Red telephone boxes have been a feature of our streetscapes since 1926 and there has been one in Nailsea High Street for at least 60 years although not always outside the supermarket nearest the village green.
At the time the council was considering buying the kiosks Mrs Barber said she didn’t know whether anyone feels strongly enough to fight to save them.
She said: “There was a discussion about High Street telephone box and a suggestion we should fill it with flowers as they have done all over Bath.
“This can look amazingly effective but maybe it would be subject to vandalism and high maintenance.
“One councillor thought we could install a defibrillator but there already is one on the High Street.
"I think they meant the one outside the Tithe Barn.”
It was in May 2016 that Nailsea Town Council first made a formal bid to buy first the red telephone box opposite Holy Trinity church under the BT £1 scheme– this kiosk is now disconnected and apart from some graffiti has stood still in time, unloved and unused.
On the English Heritage website if you search for Nailsea you find that the K6 telephone kiosk opposite the church has a Grade II listing since 1988. Designed in 1935 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott it says its square shape was made by various contractors of cast iron with domed roof. Similar K6 boxes can sell online for nearly £3,000.
Nationwide old BT phone boxes are being sold off and converted into miniature libraries, museums, ice-cream parlours and even coffee stalls.
In the 1980s there were more than 70,000 but in the past decade this has dropped to 5,023.
There are less than 1,000 red telephone boxes left in the south west.
The death knell to the red telephone box coincided with the widespread use of personal mobile phones.
Under the £1 BT Adopt A Kiosk scheme, communities can retain a red kiosk providing certain criteria is meet.
The scheme has been successful in transforming unused payphone kiosks and preserves the heritage of the red kiosk, particularly in rural locations.
In Devon the world’s smallest mini disco was created from an old red phone box while in Cheltenham 10 old phone boxes were transformed into mini art galleries.
In Cheshire an old phone box was transformed into a book swap scheme allowing local residents the chance to take and deposit books.
There are several ‘types’ from the K1 Grade II concrete design to the K6 introduced in 1935 mostly painted in ‘currant red’ to the K7 which went no further than the prototype stage. K8 was introduced in 1968 which came in a slightly darker pillar box red.
Hurstbourne Tarrant Parish Council with 666 parishioners on the electoral register bought its red telephone box in 2019 to use as a help-your-self library.
The north Hampshire villagers soon filled the shelves of the converted public telephone kiosk with thrillers, classic novels and children’s books.
However, shock horror when it was discovered a mystery visitor has been sneaking in and leaving what the parish council describes as pornographic material amid the Dan Browns and JK Rowlings.
According to that font of all knowledge the online Daily Mail reported 'six saucy books are believed to have been left on the shelves'.
The parish council issued a plea to residents: ‘We love our red phone box library on Church Street but we don’t love salacious adult literature being left in there.
‘So if whoever is doing so is reading this, please don’t keep leaving inappropriate books – the majority of visitors to the phone box are children.
"And some of them are tall enough to reach the shelves where the books for grown-ups are.
"Please find another outlet for your collection.”
Nailsea Town Council community engagement committee chairman Dee Houlbrook said: “We officially own the High Street box and I’m excited to do something great with it.
”We are keen for residents ideas and to make it into something the town can be involved in, and be a point of interest
As it is local history month you can find out more about our listed buildings HERE.
North Somerset Council ex
Nailsea no longer has a seat at the top table of North Somerset Council after West End ward councillor James Tonkin became a casualty of the hoo-ha from the controversial proposal to close our country lanes to traffic.
Mr Tonkin did keep his role as chairman of planning, highways and transport but this is no longer an executive post.
Here are the current executive members:
Council leader Don Davies who is the Independent ward councillor for Pill
Council deputy Mike Bell Lib Dem ward councillor Weston-super-Mare Central for adult services, health and housing
Steven Bridger Independent ward councillor Yatton for assets and capital delivery
Mike Solomon Independent ward councillor Locking for neighbourhoods and community services
Bridget Petty Green Party ward councillor Backwell for climate emergency and engagement
Catherine Gibbons Labour Party ward councillor Milton for children’s services and lifelong learning
Nicola Holland Independent ward councillor Portishead West is assistant executive member for post Covid education and skills recovery
Ash Cartman Lib Dem ward councillor for Long Ashton for corporate services
Mark Canniford Lib Dem ward councillor for Weston Hillside for placemaking and economy
Robert Payne Lib Dem ward councillor for Weston Central assistant executive member for parking strategy and delivery
You can find out more information about the responsibilities of each of the Executive members at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/executive and read for story on our Political Peeps page HERE.
Battle for Battleaxes
There are plans to turn The Battleaxes at Wraxall from a country pub into a five-bed house.
The iconic Grade 11 building has stood empty and unloved since summer 2020 when it went on the market with a £1million price tag.
The restaurant with bijou bedroom suites to rent has a chequered history but it was November 2020 the business went into voluntary liquidation.
Then owner South African Matt Lowe had suffered a baptism of fire with zero hygiene ratings, major roadworks outside and then the pandemic.
FRP Advisory Trading Ltd, of Brentwood, Essex, were formally appointed liquidators.
And now Mr and Mrs Patel, of Frampton Cotterell, have submitted a change of use application to turn the pub into a five-bed home.
The Battleaxes was originally built as a Temperance house by the benevolent Matilda Blanche Gibbs, widow of wealthy merchant William Gibbs, in 1881.
To read the application in full on North Somerset Council website click HERE.
Currently there are four public comments.
One says: “I've lived in Wraxall all my life and The Battleaxes has been a huge part of the community. The Gibbs family built the pub for the villagers to use and as a listed building it would be a great loss to Wraxall. With the loss of the Old Barn now not being a public house it's a facility the locals need. I've been to many weddings and wakes over the years and we used to use the pub for family occasions and socialising with friends. With the bus stop right outside it is easy for Nailsea people as the transport links are already available and with good footpaths and Tyntesfield being a huge attraction the pub, if managed well could be a very successful business again.”
Local history month
May is local history month which was created to raise awareness of and promote local history and encourage the community to participate.
Know Your Place (KYP) North Somerset is a lottery funded digital heritage mapping resource.
It helps people explore their neighbourhood online through historic maps, collections and linked information.
KYP is collaborating with North Somerset Libraries on themes of North Somerset's history this month.
Nailsea Library has Nailsea’s Nuggets - a selection of interesting items from its collection.
Watch the KYP short film to find out more.
It could be a bit of a squash
The figures just don’t add up – so how many houses do they want to build in Nailsea, when and where are also good questions to ask and if it really is another 1,500 homes is someone going to sort out the road network with all this extra traffic?
A Bristol Post report this week by local democracy reporter Stephen Sumner sums it all up nicely under the heading ’Council 'backed into a corner' on 20,000 homes target’ which included a councillor lamenting ‘we are being asked to fit an elephant in a Mini’.
North Somerset Council leaders say they have been backed into a corner by a “mutant algorithm” and are being forced to build 20,000 homes across the district.
A new strategy will prioritise the expansion of urban areas but Councillor Ash Cartman wanted reassurance that 6,000 homes as yet unaccounted for would not be built in the green belt.
He accused North Somerset MP Liam Fox of being ‘disingenuous or misleading’ for blaming the district council for the numbers, rather than his own Conservative government.
Papers being drawn up for a new Local Plan show Weston-super-Mare taking the biggest share, with some 3,000, followed by 1,500 in Nailsea, and a total of 1,000 in Yatton and Backwell, along with large sites in the four towns and small ‘windfall’ locations.
North Somerset Council will take a sequential approach, with the top priority being to ensure that the 3,600 dwellings it has already granted planning permission are built.
But the estimated total is nearly 6,000 homes shy of the target and the council will have to ask neighbouring authorities to pick up the slack or consider building in the green belt.
Cllr Cartman told his executive colleagues: “This document is the reality of the government forcing us to build 20,000 homes in North Somerset, of which many it looks like will be on the green belt.
“It’s taken us thousands of years to get 100,000 homes and now we’ve got to do 20,000 over 15 years - the size of two Clevedon's (not Cleveland's as reported in the Post).
“The allocation by central government has taken no account of the fact that we’ve got a lot of green belt, a lot of low-lying land and an area of outstanding natural beauty. It seems to be the result of some mutant algorithm.
“The government has asked us to fit an elephant in a Mini and now the local MPs are blaming us because the bloody thing doesn’t fit.”
Cllr Cartman has shared a letter from Dr Fox on his website blaming the council for ‘increasing numbers of plans to build on green belt which I completely oppose’.
He accused the MP of being ‘at best disingenuous, at worst misleading’ because the government sets the housing target.
Responding to the criticism, a spokesman for Dr Fox said: “Dr Fox has a long standing track record of fighting to protect the Greenbelt in North Somerset.
“Dr Fox will continue to work with all stakeholders on a cross-party basis to stand up for North Somerset, it’s a shame that the Lib Dems play party politics rather than working together”.
To hit the target of 20,085 new homes by 2038, 1,339 would have to be built every year. The average current rate is just 808 per year.
To read full report click HERE.
computer techies for the online community
The TEK Hut was started by Ben Parker in the summer of 2018.
For 12 years Ben had been one of the team at The ICT Workshop which provided a wide variety of computer services to Nailsea, Clevedon, Yatton, Backwell and even Weston-Super-Mare.
Ben felt it right to continue the same great service customers had previously experienced but under new branding for a new business and The Tek Hut was born.
Trading at the familiar location in Nailsea, The Tek Hut will continue to offer the same cost effective, new laptops and PCs, upgrades, onsite support for homes and businesses through to a wide range of workshop services and accessories.
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